NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It is no exaggeration to say Scott Augenbaum wrote the book on ransomware. “I have seen the ransomware actors target the most vulnerable segments of society targeting nonprofit organizations, small businesses, religious institutions, the cybercriminals do not care who you are, they want to target you and they are financially motivated.”
The FBI veteran said a majority of cybercrimes could have been prevented. “The secret to cybersecurity, a simple plan to protect your family and business because one of the things I discovered when I was with the FBI was a majority of the cybercrime victimizations that I dealt with easily could have been prevented.”
Augenbaum’s book is a page-turner filled with deception, secret codes, hostages, backup plans, and large cash ransoms. And if not careful, it’s your biography.
“Phishing emails happen to be the main attack vector for the distribution of email, you’re going to get an email from somebody you know, you’re going to get an email from somebody you trust, it might be holiday shopping season, it might look like it’s coming from Amazon, but it could be a cybercriminal trying to impact you with a malicious file.”
Ransomware, like it sounds, is simply a hostage situation, all your data held captive unless you pay up, or do you?
“When I was with the FBI, I used to tell organizations do not pay the ransom. Because if you pay the ransom, there’s no proof that you’re going to get your information back. And even if you pay the ransom on a Monday and get your stuff back, you could get infected again on a Wednesday. But I’ll never forget what I had one business I spoke to. And I told them don’t pay the ransom. I said as long as you have a good backup, you’re going to be okay. And then they told me that they could restore from their backup. And if they didn’t pay and take that chance they would have went out of business.”
Vulnerability and dangers continue to threaten home computers and phones everywhere. See what you need to do to stay safe from ransomware attacks in our Special Reports ‘Cyberattacks Hitting Home’ all day Tuesday on WKRN News 2 in every newscast and on WKRN.com.
Scott, like any cybersecurity expert, cannot emphasize enough the focus on prevention. “We have to make sure they’re constantly being patched; we need to use two-factor authentication on all about remote access. And we need to make sure that we have a good backup plan in place.”